Google and Walmart are teaming up to take on mutual e-commerce rival Amazon.
Starting in late September, customers will be able to make Walmart purchases through Google Express, an online marketplace where customers can purchase and set up delivery from stores like Target and Walgreens. Walmart items will also be available through the Google Assistant and Google Home smart speaker, which competes with Amazon’s Echo, the market leader for voice-controlled devices. Walmart shoppers can link their customer accounts to Google and get personalized recommendations.
For the two giants, with a combined market cap of approximately $894 billion, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Walmart ups its e-commerce profile as it continues to battle Amazon in both the digital and brick-and-mortar retail realms. Google gets a greater selection of items for Google Express and a more robust shopping platform through its digital assistant and Google Home smart speaker.
In addition to its alliance with Walmart, Google also announced changes to Google Express to better compete with Amazon Prime. Google currently charges $95 for an annual membership, similar to the $99 annual fee for Amazon Prime. With the changes, Google Express will offer free delivery within one to three days if an order meets a store’s minimum threshold. For example, Walmart recently introduced free, two-day shipping on orders over $35, so any Walmart-Google Express order over $35 would qualify for free shipping.
Walmart and Amazon’s competition is well-documented. As Amazon is opening more retail stores, Walmart is is making big acquisitions and investing in new e-commerce technology. The retail giant has invested billions to acquire retailers like Jet.com and Bonobos in recent years.
Google and Amazon are competitors in a variety of industries, from e-commerce, to the cloud, to digital assistants to smart speakers. Additionally, Google in a couple years will open up a big new Seattle office in the heart of Amazon’s turf.